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Get physiotherapy treatment to prevent the abuse of opioids during neck and back pain



  Opioids

Physical therapy should be used to prevent abuse of opioids in neck and back pain (Representational Image) Photo by: Thinkstock

New York: Suffer from neck, back and shoulder pain? If this is the case, the early visit of a physiotherapist may reduce the use of opioids that can lead to abuse, as well as other health complications, a study suggests. According to researchers from Stanford University in the US, physical therapy may be a useful, non-pharmacological approach to treating severe musculoskeletal pain.

The study found that patients undergoing early physiotherapy used 1

0.3 percent less opioid medication for knee pain; 9.7 percent less for shoulder pain; and 5.1 percent less for back pain from three months to one year after diagnosis.

"This is not a world where there are magic bullets, but many guidelines suggest that physiotherapy is an important component of pain management, and there is hardly a disadvantage to trying," said Eric Sun, assistant professor at the University.

"What our study found was that the likelihood that you will use opioids in the longer term is reduced if you can get those patients into physiotherapy relatively quickly," Sun said. The researchers included 88,985 patients for the study.

Results published in the JAMA Network Open showed that if a patient sought physiotherapy within the first 90 days of diagnosis, he or she was less likely to receive an opioid prescription three months to a year after the diagnosis.

The findings may be useful for clinicians looking for pain management options that pose fewer health risks than opioids, reduce pain, and improve function in some musculoskeletal conditions, Sun notes.


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